BUCKS BEAT: Udrih will pick up $7 million player option

2012-04-25T00:34:00Z BUCKS BEAT: Udrih will pick up $7 million player optionGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times

Earlier this season, Beno Udrih said he might not pick up the $7.32 million option on his contract for next season.

At the time, Udrih was obviously upset about his lack of playing time. Today, he still isn’t exactly a happy camper, especially considering he’s averaging only 18 minutes a game compared to 35 minutes last season when he played for Sacramento.

But Udrih fully realizes his market value has taken a major hit and that he wouldn’t come anywhere close to making $7 million as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

As such, Udrih, the Bucks’ second-highest paid player, said he will pick up the player option for next season.

* Bucks forward Carlos Delfino said he’s shutting it down for the season.

Delfino has a nagging groin pull and sees no value in playing the Bucks’ two remaining games.

It’s been a frustrating season for the Argentinian, who averaged nine points and shot a paltry 40 percent from field.

* When you talk about consummate professionals, be sure to include Luc Mbah a Moute in the discussion. The Bucks forward has virtually played the entire season on one leg because of a bum right knee.

* The costliest loss for the Bucks was unquestionably to the New York Knicks on April 11.

The Bucks were in perfect position to secure a playoff spot at the time before Bucks coach Scott Skiles inexplicably played starting center Drew Gooden just five minutes and starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova only 14 minutes.

After the game, I asked both Ilyasova and Gooden if injuries prevented them from playing. Both were adamant they were healthy and it was Skiles’ call to keep them on the bench.

Following the Knicks’ setback, the Bucks went on to lose four of their next five games, blowing any chance of a playoff spot.

* Does the vow of silence Skiles and general manager John Hammond have taken about their futures with the Bucks speak volumes or what?

* The growing consensus among some NBA officials is that Ilyasova, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will command — and get — a multi-year deal for $8 million a season. Not shabby for someone who is making $2.54 million this season.

* Former Bucks and current Charlotte forward Corey Maggette told me he will have knee surgery immediately after the season.

* Another former Buck, Jerry Stackhouse, may be on the brink of wrapping up his fine 16-year pro career to pursue a career in coaching, either in the pros or college.

Stackhouse, who is playing for Atlanta, has had the distinction of playing for several coaching greats, including Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle, Doug Collins and Don Nelson.

“I’m trying to transition into the next phase of my career,” Stackhouse said before a recent Bucks’ game at the Bradley Center. “I definitely want to be a head coach some day and I’m willing to pay my dues to make it happen.”

* Center Andrew Bogut never had the luxury of being surrounded by 3-point sharpshooters during his days in Milwaukee.

He will in Golden State, though.

The Warriors have some of the league’s best perimeter shooters. To wit: Stephen Curry ranks third in the NBA in 3-point shooting at .455; Brandon Rush is sixth at .447; Richard Jefferson is 14th at .419 and Klay Thompson — whom the Bucks should have taken with the 10th overall pick instead of foolishly trading it to get Stephen Jackson — is 14th at .419.

* Unless the Bucks get lucky with the ping-pong balls in the Draft Lottery, they’ll have the 12th overall pick in the June draft. The Bucks would have a measly 0.7 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. My early prediction pick for the Bucks: Tyler Zeller of North Carolina.

* Did you know that the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers have just one lottery pick in their starting lineup?

Center Roy Hibbert was the 17th overall pick in the 2008 draft; small forward Danny Granger was taken 17th in the 2005 draft; power forward David West was selected 18th in the 2003 draft, and point guard George Hill was taken 26th in the 2008 draft.

The Pacers’ fifth starter, Paul George, was the 10th pick in the 2010 draft.

* One of the many issues that plagued the Bucks this season was their inability to secure a solid backup center.

The Bucks first pursued Joel Przybilla, who signed with Portland, and then courted Kyrylo Fesenko, who signed with Indiana.

“I had a good workout with the Bucks,” Fesenko said. “I was interested (in signing with them), but they kept asking me to wait and to wait and to wait and I couldn’t wait anymore. I don’t what they were waiting for, a magic moment or what?”

* Two of the greatest shooting guards in Bucks’ history — Boston’s Ray Allen and Phoenix’s Michael Redd — will become unrestricted free agents this summer.

* RUMOR OF THE WEEK: If the New York Knicks don’t advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, I’m hearing they’ll make a major — repeat, major — push to lure legendary coach Phil Jackson out of retirement.

With money being no object, the scuttlebutt is the Knicks brass may offer the “Zen Master” a four-year, $50 million deal.

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